Stellenbosch University accepts equal status for English‚ promises to grow IsiXhosa
The Stellenbosch University council has passed its new language policy which extends the use of English‚ a subject of much controversy for the once proudly Afrikaans institution.
The decision was announced on the Stellenbosch Student Representative Council’s Twitter feed‚ which proclaimed: “We are happy to announce that the Council of Stellenbosch University has just passed the new language policy”.
We are happy to announce that the Council of Stellenbosch University has just passed the new language policy.— Stellenbosch SRc (@StelSRc) June 22, 2016
The university was the centre of chaotic scenes last year as student lobby group Open Stellenbosch protested against the language policy‚ arguing that the policy "safeguards Afrikaner culture" and excludes black students. The group demanded that English be the main language of instruction.
But the new language policy gives English and Afrikaans equal status.
It does also contain a pledge to grow the use of IsiXhosa‚ the third official language in the Western Cape.
The date of implementation is 1 January 2017‚ “or as soon as possible thereafter”.
The policy states that each year‚ the English offering will be revised upwards so as to increase access to SU for prospective and current students who prefer to study in English.
The intention is to achieve full accessibility for academically deserving students within five years or sooner‚ if reasonably practicable
IsiXhosa as an emerging formal academic language receives particular attention‚ the policy states‚ “for the purpose of its incremental introduction into selected disciplinary domains‚ prioritised in accordance with student needs in a well-planned‚ well-organised and systematic manner”.
A lot of the implementation will rest on the academic leadership of the Department of African Languages.
Stellenbosch University noted that‚ “In certain programmes‚ isiXhosa is already used with a view to facilitating effective learning and teaching‚ especially where the use of isiXhosa may be important for career purposes”.
“SU is committed to increasing the use of isiXhosa‚ to the extent that this is reasonably practicable‚ for example through basic communication skills short courses for staff and students‚ career-specific communication‚ discipline-specific terminology guides (printed and mobile applications) and phrase books.”
The university‚ which aims to increase its black‚ coloured and Indian student numbers to more than 15‚000 in the next five years‚ currently has a student body of 30‚000 — 62% of whom are white‚ 18% coloured‚ 17% black and 3% Indian.
View the policy here: